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TV Party - J

THE JAM - Trans Global Unity Express {Cherry Red} While the live performance on this DVD is as close to perfect as you are likely to see of THE JAM, the brevity of its duration is frustrating, clocking in at a mere 30 minutes. The recording goes back to March 1982, shot live in Birmingham using multi-cameras (with good multi-layered editing) in front of 5,000 people. If the hype is to be believed, the cameras had to be anchored to the venue’s pillars to avoid getting crushed. At the time, the band was virtually the biggest band in the UK, riding high on the success of its only #1 album, ‘The Gift’ (although the previous three were all Top 10 efforts with the previous album, ‘Sound Affects’ peaking at #2). The band had long outgrown its Punk roots by this stage as it incorporated Northern Soul and Swing into its ever forward-reaching sound.
The DVD kicks off in dramatic form as we see footage of the queue outside the venue coupled with the band on the tour bus while the sound of THE RUTS’ ‘Staring At The Rude Boys’ plays before the familiar opening bars of ‘A Town Called Malice’ strike up. It’s a tight performance of one of the band’s best tracks and is the first of six tracks played from ‘The Gift’. A meandering and sombre ‘Carnation’ follows before ‘Precious’ - with its dance beat and brass backing - provides one of the highlights with Foxton’s bass nailing the rhythm rendering the song totally infectious. Of the non-Gift tracks there’s a Stax-laden take of Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Move On Up’ that the Style Council could but wish to aspire to, followed by ‘Private Hell’ which provides the only real nod to the band’s angsty past that sees Weller sneering. The song reaches a tumultuous finale before a passionate ‘Pretty Green’ appears. Then it’s back to ‘The Gift’.
Weller says little in-between songs bar, "Yeah, really intense. This is called ‘The Gift’". He says it in a way that suggests the band is merely going through the motions - in fact it’s a blazing rendition and given the band’s stature at the time, little could have topped it - except possibly ‘Going Underground’.
There are no extras at all - no performances of ‘Eton Rifles’, ‘Down In The Tube Station At Midnight’, ‘Strange Town’... Quite disappointing really. As good as the footage here is, 30 minutes for a full DVD release is woefully short. Even the inclusion of an extra just of stills or a few promos from the era would have made all the difference. Had Cherry Red been able to get its hands on the full show, well, on the strength of what is here, it would have made ownership essential. (21.02.09)

TV Party - K

KILLING JOKE - Requiem {Charly} None of the immediate post-Punk bands had the power to captivate and terrify an audience in the live arena like KILLING JOKE. The cold, metallic clang of Geordie’s guitar has often been imitated but rarely (if ever) equalled, while whatever supporting rhythm section has been tight, powerful and pulsated on a pre-Industrial mechanical groove. Of course, Jaz Coleman as a frontman provides a wonderfully unhinged focal point with a distorted, menacing vocal and psychotic stage persona.
This DVD/ CD package is of KILLING JOKE live at Lokerse Feesten, Belgium in August 2003. It’s a professional recording also, filmed on multiple cameras with broad, full sound.
The show opens with a brooding and ever potent ‘Requiem’ which really highlights the influence the band had on the Industrial scene. Geordie’s guitar sounds otherworldly while the backing groove is both danceable and bludgeoning in its power. Jaz is dressed in some kinda druid’s outfit, looking not dissimilar from one of Richard III’s entourage. He stays draped in these layers (and face paint) for the whole show. Other cranium crunching chunks include the intimidating, unrelenting prowess of ‘Wardance’, the punishing precision of ‘Whiteout’, the depth-charge bass boom that litters ‘Total Invasion’ and the unnerving reworking of ‘Psyche’. Jaz says little between songs, but noticeably lambastes America during ‘Change’ with a prominent "Fuck America, Fuck Bush," declaration.
The big negative of the show is the annoying and over-stated camera effects! We get endless layered images, slow motion, blurring, neon colouring, jarring contrasts, rapid zooming, multiple imagery... It all comes on like some digitally enhanced Acid trip! Oddly, there is no ‘Love Like Blood’ or ‘Eighties’. The latter especially is a disappointing omission - for me it’s one of the most unadulterated examples of the power of KILLING JOKE.
There are no extras, except for a CD of the same show and a booklet that gives you a basic KILLING JOKE history, discography and listing of those who have recorded KILLING JOKE songs.
One for fans only I think. I’d love to see a recording of this quality but with the Raven-era line-up. Any chance?? (15.12.09)